Amateur boxing's knock 'em, sock 'em competition the Golden Gloves has been reeling in athletic young badasses since the '20s. The man who started it all, Chicago Tribune Sports Editor Arch Ward, probably didn't foresee that the one-time newspaper-sponsored boxing tournament he spearheaded in 1923 (before the sport was banned in Illinois) would give talented bare-knuckle bar fighters and boxer wannabes an arena in which to become the next Joe Louis or Evander Holyfield, but the newbie battles endured against all odds.
This week, amateur hopefuls from flyweight to super-heavyweight fight for a chance at prestigious titles and pre-pro hype and glory. To be sure, the Cow Palace is a far cry from the glitz of luxe arenas, but there's still bound to be enough ass-kicking, foulmouthed trainers, battered faces, and brash attitude on hand to excite even the most die-hard of old-school boxing loyalists. Bouts begin nightly at 7 at Geneva & Santos, S.F. Admission is $8-25; call 404-4111 or visit www.cowpalace.com.
-- Charyn Pfeuffer
Hills too daunting for a morning cycle? Venture out on the zoo's "March BikeAbout" tour instead -- no inclines, just drowsy beasts. The Schwinn safari begins at 8:30 a.m. at the San Francisco Zoo, 1 Zoo (at Skyline). Admission is $15-20; call 753-7073 or visit www.sfzoo.org.
-- Jack Karp
Star Light, Star Bright
The Morrison Planetarium's closed until 2008, forcing dedicated stargazers to go the old-fashioned route under the real, live nighttime sky. Meet astronomer Bing Quock for an expert 411 on celestial happenings with "Star Trek: The Spring Sky Night Walk," an easy meander through the fragrant footpaths of the Strybing Arboretum and Botanical Gardens -- not that you'll pay much attention to the foliage, what with the brilliant distractions of Aries setting, Leo rising, the waxing moon, and, if you're lucky, the five "naked-eye" planets. Meet at 6:30 p.m. at Ninth Avenue and Lincoln Way in Golden Gate Park, S.F. Admission is $10 for individuals, $16 per two-child family; call 661-1316 or visit www.strybing.org.
-- Joyce Slaton
Basketball's Big Man
Oliver Chin's biography The Tao of Yao relates how Chinese NBA star Yao Ming used his spiritual background to deal with the often-unenlightened American media (not to mention the mental anguish of crushing his foes on the court). The author analyzes his subject further at "Yao Ming and the World of Basketball," a conversation with USF alum/former NBA player and coach Bill Cartwright, starting at 5:45 p.m. at USF's Lone Mountain Campus, Room 100, Turk & Parker, S.F. Admission is free; call 422-6357 or visit www.usfca.edu.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser